The commercial UAV market is growing as the consumer segment slows down. Industry forecasts show the commercial UAV market will overtake the consumer segment in the next few years. A report last year from The Teal Group predicted the industrial UAV grow in the next five years. 

The Teal Group provides support for the FAA in the preparation of its commercial UAS forecasts. In an interview with Unmanned Air Space, Philip Finnegan, Teal Group’s director of corporate analysis had this take on the growth of the commercial UAV market:

“The growing promise of the civil market is attracting the world’s leading technology companies, driving ever faster development of systems and business applications. As potential corporate clients move from proof of concept work to deployment of fleets, the market will soar.”

Forecasts for Drone Growth

According to an IDC forecast in September 2019, here’s where the fastest growth rate in drone spending will come from federal/national governments (63.4% CAGR), education (55.9%), and state/local governments (49.9% CAGR).

Here’s what the overall UAV market looked like in 2019:

  • Consumer drones – $6.5 billion in 2020, representing 40% of the worldwide total.
  • Utilities – $1.9 billion
  • Construction – $1.4 billion
  • Discrete manufacturing ($1.2 billion)
  • Resource industries ($1.2 billion)

Commercial UAV Companies Seeing Fast Growth

Executives from commercial drone company Digital Aerolus say they see commercial UAV growth in 2020 already. Director of Business and Product Development Jameson Huckaba says his team is seeing an increase in demand:

“CES 2020 was easily the most successful trade show ever for Digital Aerolus. Even at this consumer-focused show, we saw tremendous demand for our industrial inspection UAS platform, which demonstrates the massive shift in the marketplace from consumer-oriented products to the need for professional tools that help people do their jobs more effectively. The Aertos platform is the best GPS-denied indoor inspection UAS, and people are taking notice.” 

The Kansas City-based autonomous tech company launched a line of commercial drones in 2016.  Digital Aerolus CEO Jeff Alholm expected uptake in the commercial drone market in 2020 but even he’s been surprised by the new demand:

“2019 was a breakthrough year for us; our commercial UAVs are gaining a reputation for solving real problems for people. They fly stably indoors in confined and inaccessible spaces. We’re seeing significant demand for our UAS in industrial inspections, especially in the power and mining industries. Our Aertos 130IR is entirely designed and manufactured in the United States and allows us to implement significant security features such as end-to-end encryption that matter to our commercial users. The best way to predict the future is to invent it!”